Herb Gintis reviews Krugman on Amazon:
Krugman’s vision for the future has three key premises, all wrong.
First, he believes progressives can win on a platform of
redistributing from the rich. However, no one cares about inequality.
People care about injustice, unfairness, poverty, sexual predators,
family values, gay marriage, terrorism, and many other problems of
everyday life. People don’t care about Gini distributions and other
abstractions. Moreover, Krugman should know that if the wealth were
redistributed to the middle class, the US investment rate would fall,
since the rich save their money and it is translated into investment,
whereas the middle classes would spend their gains on consumption, thus
driving out investment. A "soak the rich" policy simply cannot work to
the advantage of the middle classes.
Second, Krugman would strengthen the labor unions, which he
credits for their egalitarian effects. However, unions were strong only
when industry was highly non-competitive in such areas as automobiles
and steel. The oligopolistic character of mid-twentieth century
industry, with a few countries in the lead, made fighting over the
excess profits highly rewarding. With globalization, there are no
excess profits to be fought over. Thus, it is not surprising that most
successful unions in the USA are public service, not private (e.g.,
teachers, government employees). There is no future in unionism,
Third, Krugman believes that liberalism can be restored to its
1950’s health without the need for any new policies. However, 1950’s
liberalism was based on southern white racism and solid support from
the unions, neither of which exists any more. There is no future in
pure redistributional policies in the USA for this reason. Indeed, if
one looks at other social democratic countries, almost all are moving
from corporate liberalism to embrace new options, such as Sarkozy in
France (French socialists have the same pathetic political sense as
American liberals, and will share the same fate).
I am sorry that we can’t do better than Krugman. There are very
serious social problems to be addressed, but the poor, pathetic,
liberals simply haven’t a clue. Conservatives, on the other, are
political sophisticated and hold clear visions of what they want. It is
too bad that what they want does not include caring about the poor and
the otherwise afflicted, or dealing with our natural environment.
Politics in the USA is no longer Elephants and Donkeys; it is now
conservative Pigs and liberal Bonobos. The pigs are smart but only care
about what’s in their trough. The Bonobos are polymorphous perverse and
great lovers, but will be extinct in short order.
Hat tip to PrestoPundit.